close to the pylons: joe murray on robin foster, henry collins, leda, arv & miljö, tear fet, troy schaferAugust 5, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: aetheric records, arv & miljo, chocolate monk, henry collins, i dischi del barone, iddb, joe murray, leda, lf records, robin foster, tear fet, troy schafer
Henry Collins / Robin Foster – Spill Lynch Corrosiveness / Frostlike Neighbourly Aversion (CD-r, LF Records, LF050)
Leda – City/Clear (7″ vinyl, I Dischi Del Barone, IDDB010, edition of 200)
Arv & Miljö – untitled (7″ vinyl, I Dischi Del Barone, IDDB008, edition of 200)
Tear Fet – Blabber (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.333, edition of 40)
Troy Schafer – Amplified Double Fiddle (3″ CD-r and pin badge or download, aetheric records)
Henry Collins / Robin Foster – Spill Lynch Corrosiveness / Frostlike Neighbourly Aversion
These two ‘non-guitarists’ play something approaching Kaiser-mash with some extremely damaged fingers.
Two tracks. One mind/ten fingers a-piece. You dig?
Spill Lynch yeah! Guitar-as-you-trucking-lump-it. Totally wrecked non-playing as strings are hammered on and hammered off. Steel is plucked and pulled and shredded hard with foam mallets. Rubbery metal is found bounced in the reverse making this a righteous dental dam for pearly whites.
Tiny fists, like Joe Pesci’s ‘pow…ping…pow’, jab into your soft temple raising a bruise and yet… this would be a wonderfully zesty cocktail! But you add the mangled FX-BOX and goof-timing and you are looking at a particularly sexy beach. Memory gong ripples out a Daxophone reference but it’s slung as low as a Kev Hopper bassline so figure that captain!
Frostlike yeah! One man spitting canned peas out a tight, puckered gob-hole dribbles cold green bile. OR has Eddie Van taken the vapours so his ERUPTION is all STAR SPANGLED out a tiny HIWATT about to burst into flames. It’s like a pissy Morse; a constant chatter of on/off/on/off rattling up through my ribcage and whispering into my fontanel. It’s machine code on the jibber-jabber somehow rocking a ska rhythm. It’s barium voodoo and it’s aiming for any hole going.
We Roll tonight to the guitar bite
Leda – City/Clear
Crispy bouncing beats sound like they crept out of Sheffield circa 1979. A wheexing synth plays a one note melody and twists the pitch up, out of waxy remains, until the thing squeals like a pinched nut. One dimensional in the best possible way; focused and determined Leda sings a line that blends soft as Egyptian eye shadow. It does its thing at a totally brisk pace: skip, skip, skipping like a hockey puck over dull scuffed ice.
The flipside proper songs it; imagine shoving a Woodbine into that Vape pen and huffing hard. Misty organ vamps float like a kite flapping drastically close to the pylons. Leda sighs as if bad news is arriving soon in a manila envelope. I’m thinking of Barbara Manning in her total waif days if you’re looking for a mind-crutch.
Wonderfully brief, totally Nu Wave. Where’s my piano tie dude?
Arv & Miljö – Untitled
The mysterious Arv & Miljö are quite possibly the equally mysterious Matthias Andersson who has jammed a high-quality mic out his neat apartment window to record the big wide world going about its business.
Side A picks up those pesky seabirds all going
CAW CAW SQUEEEEEE CAW
in fine white clarity. If this was Whitby they’d be fighting over chips but Matthias’ location is totally smorgasbord, all gherkin fresh and sauna-clean toes.
Side B revels in a Swedish downpour. The trebly ‘hiss’ of the rain fills my ears almost whole but gradually subsides into more bassy individual drips (off your peaked cap perhaps) and ends on a fragile bowl ringing making this a super-fucking-classy ride on the vinyl.
Tear Fet – Blabber
As serious as your life.
This meditation on disease and ultimate loss is pure honest gibber that surfs straight from tragedy. It’s a pretty unsettling raw disc of vocal jaxx, jammed to tape direct with no discernable dubs or edits. The 20 minute piece was scored by Fet himself (a Matt Dalby apparently) and then, as the moorings loosen, it breaks free of all reason.
My first few listens marvel at the sheer range of guff coming outta two lips, two lungs and one tongue.
Me? I’ll carry this like Wisdens… a goddamn almanac of honk. A how-to guide!
Over the course of the spinning shiney I count the following techniques: slack mouth farts, gulps, wheezing roars, tactile yawns, owl squeaks, slibby gibbers, lip-smacks, jaw creaks, warble and weft, dry huff/wet huff, moans, scones and drones, deep sighs, ribbet-lite, mucus croak, deft saliva manipulation, pinched inhalations, seal barks, wet sucking, coughs (phlegm and tickle), rude burps, careless whispers, dirty slurps, humms, ululation, snivel and whimpers, throat rasp, snivels (without whimpers), throat shred, large cheek inflation, nasal gargles, proper singing, mithering, call and response (solo), repetition and imitation, vibration of fleshy jowls, cavity popping, fake Russian bantz, sinus snort, irregular mucus work, jakey muttering, horse blowing and common or garden slobber. [Editor’s note: Bravo Joe! *claps meatily in approval*]
For students of vocal jizz in all its glorious forms; consider this one essential.
Troy Schafer – Amplified Double Fiddle
A tremendous hot spurting event of a record that moves from God-rattling fists to microscopic blossoms bursting.
Mr Troy here has built his own double fiddle, inspired by Aussie out-violinist Jon Rose, and rammed it through all manner of cheap distortion sawing away raising merrie hell.
The horsehair rips up a storm (x 2), the dragging and pushing astringent as a spilled gin ‘n tonic but still fatly full and all encompassing. Occasionally things fall apart into an elegant digital-ditch or rusty tape hole; all the better to keep things human and sprightly I say!
Oh my sweet Lord! There’s something wonderfully elemental about the frenzied bowing, the constant car-crash of sound that’s as bright as a spotlight; a pure unfettered stream of energy and information.
The overtones really play nice with my pink ears, especially on the less noisy moments. The double movement is shaped like slow geography, a gradual denudation of the bristling sonics turning the abrasive into smooth gold teeth.
Hey! Conventional wisdom loves a crescendo eh? A simple narrative that leads to the big pay off, the money shot. But Troy baffles by moving from Piss Superstition-levels of fuckedness to a no-more-than slightly water-damaged scrape over the course of this beautifully direct record. The arc in reverse.
I’m so keen you hear this I checked with aetheric and blimey… it’s sold out at source. Click the download my beauties!
Y’know those rare days when it is so hot that the only possible topic of conversation is ‘how hot it is’? Well like that but replace ‘hot’ with ‘tired’.
So tired that I mix up different presenters on the CBeebies channel and alarm my three year old son by exclaiming:
Blimey! That lass has grown a new arm!
So tired that I can only marvel, a hapless spectator, as a single flight of stairs proves a challenge to my trembling knees.
So tired that I put the grapes in the freezer and am bewildered to find them, rock-fucking-solid, the following morning.
So tired that all music becomes a grey and undifferentiated mass, the prospect of which just makes me want to… sleep.
Readers may have noticed a slow down in posts of late. This is due to your humble editor enduring a bad attack of the one-damn-thing-after-anothers. Long term followers may worry that my depression is returning but, mentally at least, I seem as impervious as a concrete rhinoceros. It’s ‘just’ ‘real’ ‘life’, the demands of which have brought on a mild, music-related existential crisis and have, until now, not afforded the time to think about it.
On the face of it, all is barrelling along very nicely indeed. I’ve been massively impressed with Clan RFM this year and the terrific projects my comrades have been involved with: Chrissie’s album with Helicopter Quartet, Joe’s unhygienic but effective finger-in-every-pie creative strategy, marlo’s participation in and championing of the Extraction Music event/comp, Luke’s mad tape on ultimate outsider-art label Cardboard Club, the awe-inspiring line-up gathering for Sof’s Tor Fest (alas, I won’t be there – I’m cashing in all the husband-points I’ve collected to go to TUSK and hang with Miguel later in October) – to name but a FEW. That any of them has managed to write anything for l’il ol’ RFM boggles the mind.
And me? Yeah, my dinky CD-r on Bells Hill has been well received, my ideas have been discussed in the ivory towers of academia and I am now the owner of two T-shirts commemorating events at least partly inspired by my writing. No biggee.
The only problem is that I can’t seem to listen to music.
It’s odd – throughout my life as a serial obsessive I’ve spent three or four years each on various nerdish pursuits (go on, ask me about textual variations in the numerous editions of Philip K. Dick’s The Unteleported Man a.k.a. Lies Inc. Err, no, on second thoughts, don’t) before losing interest and moving on, but music has always been exempt from this pattern before.
What’s happening? Despite the ridiculous tiredness, my concentration span hasn’t entirely left me – for example, I got through over twenty hours of podcasts about the horrors of the World War I recently (yes, that was what I was doing instead of listening to your tape). My sense of humour may have darkened but I’m maintaining a jaunty-ish Twitter presence (even if the rest of my correspondence is for shit). I’ve even tried dropping the noise and looking elsewhere. A few weeks ago I was told off for declaring 6 Music ‘unbearably smug’ so I turned it on, listened to three minutes of a string quartet covering ‘Kashmir’ by Led Zeppelin, and turned it off again. The prosecution rests. 1Xtra is a lot more exciting but the playlist system makes it impossible to listen to for any length of time (or at the same time each day – ‘Skwod‘ soundtracked the washing up for a week, it’s great but…). Experiments with YouTube, downloading mixes, internet radio and the like have had inconclusive results.
So what now? My apologies to those who have sent music or are expecting emails – I’ll do what I can. I have posts lined up from Chrissie, Luke and, inevitably, Joe so RFM won’t be entirely silent whilst I figure this out but, with the pile of stuff for review at record levels and visitor stats stalling, I wonder if you lot have any advice.
Any ideas as to why my grapes are in the freezer?
a quivering lake of iron: joe murray in the invisible city: stuart chalmers, yes blythe, black threadJuly 6, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: black thread, invisible city records, joe murray, stuart chalmers, yes blythe
Stuart Chalmers – Imaginary Musicks Vol. 5 (tape, Invisible City Records, ICR22, edition of 50 or download)
Yes Blythe – Arieto (tape, Invisible City Records, ICR21, edition of 50 or download)
Black Thread – Seeping Pitch (tape, Invisible City Records, ICR20, edition of 50 or download)
Stuart Chalmers – Imaginary Musicks Vol. 5
The King of the Loops is back with another instalment of his magical Imaginary Musicks collection. Whilst recent Chalmers releases have been brimming with that space-age bachelor-pad sparkle this tape delves into a fascinating pop direction, making me think about folk like Talk Talk and The Associates for the first time in a decade.
What I liked at the time about those mid-80’s chin-strokers was they brought clever (but rarely clever-clever) themes and textures into a mighty pop tune; combining pre-millennial angst and longing with something the milkman could whistle. No mean feat, eh?
And Mr S Chalmers is bringing this high-concept dance-ability back to my cheap-o stereo with little more than the contents of a reusable canvas shopping bag: 3 cassette tapes, pedals, synth and Tascam 4 track.
But don’t get the idea that this is in any way lightweight. Check out the goat-herder playing solo Dicta-mung on ‘Brute’; the beasts chew contentedly, deconstructing an orchestra around a close-miked baritone sax. Or that nagging, insistent lop-sided beat that’s half Wu Tang and half Lewis Taylor’s ‘Bittersweet’ named ‘Harbinger’. Side one closes with ‘Warped’ (yeah… that title just had to happen) as a clutch of classical guitar notes get dragged back and forward across the tape head whipping up a quivering lake of iron.
Weepy piano tones shimmer all over ‘Nightscape’, whipping out a Kenny G for a couple of mordant moments that almost suggests Stuart is a fretless bass solo away from an ECM recording contract!
We dig deeper still on ‘Gothic’ (a padded envelope of volatile lady-squeal to be held in ginger paws) and ‘Psychosis’ (radio waves dotted with gritty human endeavour – a history of the world in realtime) to end on the heavy-tape heavyweight ‘Vista’ a masterclass of pregnant pause and elegant New Age smear.
The stoner pace and 3D sound mushrooms make side two as heady as an illicit joss-stick burning down to its thread core in my teenage bedroom.
OK you crossword fans. Take the ‘U’ out of Stuart and you are left with a START! Action is calling. Put down that greasy pencil and dial up some Chalmers therapy.
Yes Blythe – Arieto
Listening to Yes Blythe; sight unseen, un-googled and without any background braindumps I’m inclined to place them in the Northern European tradition of Scandinavian analogue throb.
The pulsating synth/electronics are pensive antiques and wheeze with an ääkköset limp. It’s clean and pure as wood-panelled sauna-life followed by a snowy thrashing with birch branches.
But of course, I’m wrong, wrong, wrong. Hailing from damp Manchester Callum Higgins seems to be Yes Blythe in its foggy entirety and here he presents two side-long pieces that play with space and time.
‘Tonal’ (side one) is pretty skunked-out, man; like the heaving of a giant’s shoulders as he chokes down a massive bong hit. The vibrations extend out beyond the body and infect the detritus of the afternoon: the table a riot of glasses, cassettes leaping free from their cases, glossy magazines splayed on the sofa, half-read, paper legs akimbo.
Slight and delicate clicks keep a lazy time, stretching and contracting, across the occasional soft shudder from a groaning brass gong. Smoke forms a flexible membrane that hangs across the room at chest height, the sun picks out one thousand motes, an everyday miracle revealed.
‘Tønal’ (side two) takes two notes snipped from the ghost of a Rhodes piano and plays them back into a busy restaurant. Diners dine as cutlery clicks pepper the mix and conversation links the condiments. Oil and bread rattle, eyes meet and there is a pause… hearts interlock.
The night progresses and the twin notes slowly bounce off each other with no diners to observe. The sound plays for its own amusement as bodies twist in the sheets.
Minimal psychedelic? Oh Yes Blythe!
Black Thread – Seeping Pitch
Just a thought…
For many N-AUndergrounders the release you hold in your hand and wrap your ears round is often the result of months of work and years of practice. But despite the hours that go into that tape, CD-R or download it is rarely a final statement.
In fact one of the key signifiers of N-AU activity is the restless work-in-progress nature of what we do. Those tapes just keep on coming. And why? Because there is more to uncover, more to explore…the individual idea seam may be heavily mined but the practice is part of the work; the work becomes the practice.
Black Thread, another new name on me, is unusual in that it feels fully realised and complete; a perfect string of polished beads.
Xangellix strides into the back room of a Working Man’s Club (Spennymoor circa 1987).
He throws his cape to one side and sits regally at the club synth. Plump fingers pump the keys releasing grainy wafts of melancholic ‘huhhgghh’.
Drinkers drain pints and slow light breaks through the grimy window. Sound wraps like a shroud around the disassembled crowd.
It’s like layers of electronic silt being deposited on the sea bed
one drinker squawks guiltily as he nurses his half of Peculiar Brew.
Another lifts his cap and hisses through teethless gums,
Foddle! I’m picturing gases rolling and churning through a clay pipe. They fill each cavity with the sound of damp longing. It’s fair set off my shrapnel ache here,
and he points a withered finger at his thigh.
Whippets moan in their sleep. It sounds like they whisper
through their narrow jaws as Xangellix plays on.
Boards of Canada lurk outside with a Dicta lifting new sound-cobbles for their witchy releases. The cads!
The Meat Raffle sweats in the corner wrapped in bleeding cellophane. As the final powerful chords fade into the mould-scented mist Xangellix notices the red stain on the lino.
he offers as a commentary and strides out, an engagement at The Top Hat beckons.
stretch out the ermine: joe murray on dan melchior, arturas bumsteinas, bas van huizen, jake blanchardJune 29, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: arturas bumsteinas, bas van huizen, chocolate monk, dan melchior, intonema, jake blanchard, joe murray, moving furniture records, tor press, was ist das?
Dan Melchior – Seaslime (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.336)
Arturas Bumsteinas – Organ Safari Lituanica (CD, Intonema, int019, edition of 200)
Bas van Huizen – Waanzintraan (CD, Moving Furniture Records, MFR032, edition of 200)
Jake Blanchard – Shade (lathe-cut vinyl, Was Ist Das? / Tor Press, first edition of 30, second edition of 20 or download)
Dan Melchior – Seaslime
Total goose-work and tape-munch.
In parts, it’s throbbing synth and cut-ups that are, in the best possible way, all over the fucking shop. Grunt speech gets all wrapped and folded so the vowels come out backwards/sideways. There’s some nice radio interference and guitar (?) played with cheesy feet. Nuf said?
But the main thread seems to be ‘no thread’; logic takes a holiday and the unconscious mind takes over. Dan talks of…
the ebb, flow and convergence of sound/noise/information that the human receptor experiences when passing through the urban (specifically) grotto
OK… I’ll take that signpost and waltz merrily through this bohemian neighbourhood.
It’s dandy of course with ripe colours and complex shapes vying for my mallow eyes. But what I like most is the low-moaning-multiple-vocal-drone that peppers this steak and opens ‘Seaslime Part Two’. Thick slices of
are piled high. Conjure up a trio of backing singers on mogs trying to drown out Tin Turna or one of them turkeys. Got it? That’s wor Dan!
Not so much the dainty Faberge egg; more a Kinder Surprise stuffed with psychic confusions.
Arturas Bumsteinas – Organ Safari Lituanica
Three wonderfully rambling organ recordings that wander between full-blown religious ecstasy and porridge-fingered fumbles.
Previously it was Ligeti’s Volumina that set my personal benchmark for Organ-oddity. I’m no organ aficionado, see, so I have to rely on the helpful sleeve notes to read that these haunting recordings are captured, field recording style, in a variety of Lithuanian locations.
But this doesn’t seem to be an act of UNESCO-sanctioned preservation. It sounds more like, with the greatest respect, a group of goofs (like me… like you) getting their grotty mittens on the thick ivories and making up gaseous routines just for the jaxx of it.
It’s a truly glorious, immersive event. At times I feel Arturas’ hand gently twisting in a shadow of reverb but mostly it’s the overlaying of short lyrical pieces played on variety of organs to create a much longer whole.
So, from steam powered fairground calliope to massive church-lungs; from street corner grinder to experimental pipe deconstruction my cloth ears are picking up ‘in the moment’ experiments and cul-de-sacs. You’ll get a straight run at one idea (forearms on upper keyboard) single note squeals on the lower or a finger-jarring arpeggio; then deep boom and lyrical honk – the sustained drones with one hand and spidery exploration with the other. At points the tones are working against each other howling at the edge of the wind, coupled with tiny metallic bells.
Lovely though this breathy miasma is you’d be right in asking,
Wot… just blessed organ jaxx for over an hour? Count me out fella!
But what you’d be missing is the ‘lostness’ the feeling of being tossed into a sea of huff, powerless in the current. Not to get too hot in these shimmering pages but it’s a submissive act of listening that I’m riffing on right now.
And… as an extra bonus fondle there’s an exquisite hiss and click to these recordings. Frenzied organ-ing comes with the occasionally ‘clunk’ of a dropped prayer book or rubber plimsoll squeak; the cluttering mechanics of pulleys and foot pedals that make a brittle accompaniment.
There’s a story about Cecil Taylor (or Sunny Murray or Ornette Coleman) where some guy asks him to sit in on the bass during a smoky after-hours jam. The dude says,
I don’t play bass, man
which is exactly the right approach when dealing with a jazz-colossus. Yeah…compared to you I don’t ‘play’ anything. But this was not just a cautious piece of self-depreciation. The guy couldn’t play a note and bent Cecil/Sunny/Ornette’s form and chops up like a crushed stubbie. Like Cecil/Sunny/Ornette said, this cat tested him in ways none of the ways a schooled player would [Editor’s note: yeah, this story sounds familiar – anyone got a citation?].
Listening to this ghostly honk is testing my improv-worn ears in the same way!
Bas Van Huizen – Waanzintraan
My good gosh! I’ve not heard a racket like this for years. Never a clubber I took my rave-powders seated in a comfortable armchair, headphones on, twisting my DNA to Autechre and the like.
It seems like so long ago but Bas Van Huizen transported me back to that armchair (long since unstuffed and burned for firewood!) as quick as a wink.
Not saying this apes any of those hollow-cheeked rascals with their granular glitch. But this has that similar heady rush, like a powerful jet of silicon/seawater mix, spraying over the dancefloor in a weighty arc and into the ruined back street behind the club. It’s littered with rusty junk and piles of broken brick and that’s just fine by me.
These excursions are uneven in length adding further angularity. You’ve just got your head round something like ‘Jichtjager’ (explosive contact-mics swimming in restaurant grease. I’m busting sick moves (in my head) as each concussive bolt whacks my ear drum) or ‘Stoppermot’ (smeared orchestra pit confined to petri dish, each bacterial horn and violin grows mutated limbs to blow and bow in erratic timings) when another jam comes along and buffers your fluffer.
Take ‘Veldverachter’ for example… the sonic equivalent of ripping off a manky plaster, bath-moulded to your ankle. Ouch!
The longer pieces (our title track for instance) are no place for napping though as ideas are burned through at dizzying speed. Channelling my inner-Goolden I’m getting, iron ravens sarcastic caw-caw, the static fizz of turned milk and clouds alive with electric shrimp. But the extra time gives Bas a chance to stretch out the ermine and get fucking regal man. Opening credits of Blade Runner regal.
To put it another way this is the rice-shaped sliver of the Venn diagram where intense pressure meets slick humidity.
So get boiled brothers & sisters.
Jake Blanchard – Shade
Watch out lightweights, there’s super-heavy intention on these five tunes.
Multi-talented Jake’s colourful designs have graced poster, book, beer bottle and even a skateboard or two. But today the easel is packed down and beret thrown to one side as a musical outing is on the agenda.
Things start with the lengthy reed-breath-piece ‘Submerged’, all Conrad-esque drone shimmering like celestial orbs, gravity surfing in warp space.
‘Unmarked’ mimics Rodger Daltry’s speed-mod stutter with some chopped ‘thug guitar’ and gritty slide all taking off into the hard desert sky. But despite the groaning blues this is truly music to build magnificent pyramids to.
Wobble-out a Saz vibe as ‘Pollination’ meshes several Middle Eastern cultures and runs them through a Copycat (or something) to create a wet-lipped smacking and the kind of unhinged fretboard gymnastics Richard Bishop would highlight in orange marker pen as Rem-fucking-betika.
This Greek 3rd Man theme continues on spy-thriller ‘Ill Advised’, kooky-keys rattle among plates of fresh octopus and we get brought back, full circle for ‘Stoney Nova’, a drone piece as soul-mirror. Ghostly reflections make a flat glassy image repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, re peat, repea t, re pe at, repe at, re peat, r epeat, rep eat, repea t, rep eat, r ep eat, r e p ea t, re p ea t, r e p e a t, r e p e a t and r e p e
Tags: cherry row recordings, daniel thomas, extraction music
Daniel Thomas – Broadcast (CD-r, Cherry Row Recordings, CRR007, edition of 25 or download)
[Editor’s note: a sudden and ferocious downpour of real-life has left me sodden recently and being dripping wet, stuck on the hall rug, makes it difficult to write. Now that I’ve finally managed to peel my socks off and drape ’em on the radiator, here’s a little something to keep you occupied whilst I squelch off to the bathroom and rub my baldy head with a towel. More from everyone soon.]
Noise/life juxtapositions are fun aren’t they? Earbuds snug, some ominous rumbling soundtracking your trot around the everyday. The purchase of a birthday card or a lunchtime mooch in the charity shops becomes otherworldly, post-apocalyptic. Sometimes it syncs just right and you feel like an underlying reality is being summoned to the surface, made visible.
For example, whilst listening to Daniel Thomas’s Broadcast for the umpteenth time an early morning walk to the dentist became a scene from They Live. I passed a crocodile of primary school children, all in charming fancy dress insect costumes, and felt sure that if I changed my usual specs for the sunglasses in my bag the purple skulls and ‘MARRY AND REPRODUCE‘ t-shirts of the cheerful adults accompanying them would be revealed. It’s that kind of recording.
However, despite being one of the more concrete/abstract of Dan’s releases, the buzz and crunch is surprisingly intimate and rewards careful appreciation with headphones. The composition has a lifting, enveloping, flowing quality – comforting or unnerving depending on the outside circumstances. Like drifting to sleep on crisp, freshly laundered cotton sheets only to wake later tangled and sweaty from dreams of fur and snow.
Hmmm… did I use the word ‘composition’? Fair enough, I suppose, knowing what I do about the meticulous care that goes into the construction of Dan’s music: the grain of each veneer matches perfectly, the joints are sanded, imperceptible. For those listeners not privy to the dank basement chambers of Castle Thomas, though, the working method must be a mystery. Leaving all talk of pot-twiddling and patch cables to one side, as I recommend we do, these tracks just seem to coalesce: like rain drops around dust motes.
fruit smoke: joe murray’s tutore burlato special: acrid lactations & jointhee, flocculi, final seed, dylan nyoukis, i placcaJune 9, 2016 at 11:11 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: acrid lactations, dylan nyoukis, ezio piermattei, final seed, flocculi, i placca, joe murray, joincey, jointhee, tutore burlato
Acrid Lactations & Jointhee – Chest (tape, Tutore Burlato, #10)
Flocculi – Gara delle facce (tape, Tutore Burlato, #09)
Final Seed / Dylan Nyoukis – split (tape, Tutore Burlato, #08)
I PLACCA – la la vitea (tape, Tutore Burlato, #11)
O sweet Bologna! That most beautiful and learned of jewels; famous for world-renowned sauces and stunningly practical porticos.
But Bologna is swiftly becoming the epicentre of new movement, some audacious No Audience activity; a nerve centre of excellence named TUTORE BURLATO. And when this sticky spider’s web converges it does so onto a man. A man strong of arm and handsome of chin.
His name? Signore e signori… allow me to introduce Ezio Piermattei.
Ezio’s tape label has been documenting the N-AU as it stands and as it hopes to be. Giving airtime to the old faithfuls and thrusting new gushers alike. And this recent batch of tapes from BURLATO mixes the new and the old, the Anglo and the Italian, the after-dinner cigarillo and the hastily burned spice mix.
My old hands go snatch up the Acrid Lactations & Jointhee jams to play first. Spying the body positive title, Chest, my mind spins back to their 2013 (?) release Toe where I honked on about: semi-improv, pre jazz hornings and Joincey dueting with coyotes.
And some of this would still float. Yeah… it’s ‘song’ based for sure, but these three pulsating brains have stretched the idea of what a song can be and on Chest serve up unconscious narratives with brittle dream accompaniment.
Brittle? Yeah… brittle is most definitely the word as there is a delicious fragility to these tunes; a fluttering of three tiny hearts in a cage of hollow bones. They stand up (only just) on stick-thin Bambi legs, all a quiver and vulnerable.
But stand they shall, for there is some other force that holds this three-ness with powerful limb-locked poise. Study the archaeo-acoustic cranks and they will tell you the ancients moved giant blocks with similar tones and chants. The trick is (I propose) to melt the ego, to drain it out of your heel, and relent.
And because the general speed is set to stately (there’s not any of that ‘itch & scratch’ haste to the improvisations) Chest presents some red-hot moments:
- Bubbling synth/keys, birdsong bubbles, mung-voice choirs and frankly horny Dictaphonics.
- “How do you identify lazily?” The unknowable mumbles in a rare moment of call and response. An underlying ur-tone of jaxx-babble frames the question.
- Depeche Mode B-Side moogs paired with drunkenly whispered threats into a green parrot’s ear (or whatever it is parrots have)
- Short mbira plunks as Jointhee sings like a cactus would – free of convention, pure with antiseptic pulp.
- The Free Jazz is dealt like a wildcard, at the optimum moment of strategic value. And these chops are paper-cut sharp and drone precise.
- Crossed frequencies on radio-weird. Damp-eyed with pride, accented words and phrases patter like fresh baby feet.
It’s so precious I’m holding my breath as I listen – a glorious submission – I tap out.
It’s the next day. I’m up early, guiltily hungover while the house still sleeps. I slap on Flocculi’s Gara Delle Facce to help re-build my soul.
Like a broth strong with lentils and kale this kind of junk really nourishes me good.
Another trio: Devid Ciamplini, David Lucchesi and Ezio Piermattei take a bunch of ‘objects’, vocoder, percussive fixings and rattle on like those old guys swigging their tiny coffees.
It’s all about the gesture and aplomb. Rustles and dry clicks snap me back into last night’s tamed debauchery.
A stone floor is brushed with a stiff brush, copper bowls are wiped out with a sponge. Once tight strings are slackened till they flap like a clown’s waistband. Sloppy electronics hum and splutter over graven images. The pace is the busy, busy, busy of a market stall; conversations are started with a warm meatiness and broken off in chaotic order. Is that a fumble for loose change or a heavy finger on the scales? A half-dozen blood oranges get popped in a paper bag, the ends twisted with a practiced flourish.
Then a creaking of door-hinges bookends Ezio’s patented pigeon impression and punctuates the rubbery throbbing. A glassy glissandi on prepared guitar shimmers like the ice in my Campari. My only critique would be these jams are too damn short!
On a bit of a roll I un-wrap the Final Seed / Dylan Nyoukis tape; a shy, blushing pink it brightens my wobbly mood further.
First some biog-jizz. Final Seed is the very Jameson Sweiger from mysterious US-based folk Maths Balance Volumes. I talk like I know all this shit but, truth to tell, this is all new information for me that I just Googled [Editor’s note: good man, exactly the kind of journalistic thoroughness our readers have come to expect]. But boy… have I been napping! Investigations reveal some sweet-weird going on in Minnesota.
Seed’s untitled side is a match-head; bulbous and explosive with all that energy fizzing and bright phosphorus boiling from the very first strike.
Ukulele plucks/strums and reconstructed vocal-hawks & blither (aka cunk-singing!) are layered like thick acoustic plasters creating a Rauschenberg sound-collage. And for a while it veers between this flexible ‘boing’ and gristly rattle.
But it’s the long drawn-out synth coda that’s the soothing balm my aching neck craves. A two note ‘ooohh…ahhhh’ tolling like soft bells. A gentle relentlessness, a rolling muscle stretch that slides easily over damaged cartilage. I can. I can feel. I can feel myself slipping under…
*GASP* <EYES BLINK OPEN WIDE, DROOL WIPED ON BACK OF HAND> *GASP*
Achem! Dylan Nyoukis has kindly recycled elements of his hen’s-teeth Encephalon Cracks series to create a mega-mix for retirement homes.
one of the kids mutters as they roll out of bed and cram with cereal. Of course the innocence of youth belies cosmic wisdom. There really is an electric-tang to this side. I imagine the guts of an old casio-tronic are ripped out and refilled with warm candy. So, pressing the keys now releases rainbow-scented blurs and fruit smoke.
Voices and domestic tape interjections keep things frisky but about halfway through this piece a seam of organ meditations begins to glitter distantly like coal dust. It has a melancholic non-congruent shine, like a shrugged shoulder coupled with eye-contact held for a fraction too long; never less than lovely, deeper than delightful.
But oldey-timey listeners need not fear! The Nyoukis jaxx-vocals still warp and stutter, freeing strict-language from its unnecessary shackles.
In short… it’s a trip and your ticket is well and truly clipped pal!
It’s much later now. The sun has done its work and snuck back leaving all surfaces pleasantly warm. I type into the fading light as I PLACCA’s offering, the mysterious la la vitea plays massaging my tired old brain.
A classic tape collage work, this beast moves from knockabout to spooky in super-quick time. There is a wonderful joy at play here. The sounds/recordings/interventions are really allowed to breathe, to grow and sprout wings.
Side one starts with leaky plumbing and ends in a JUNK MASS with golden voices going all ‘halleluiah’ while mountain goats bleat. It’s a tingler for sure! On the way though this knotty terrain we’re served up buzzing flies like some eccentric lord in a sauce of wobbling naughtiness. The double-loop reverb of a strain-station [Editor’s note: I think ‘strain-station’ may be a typo but it is too glorious to correct] Tannoy goes all tape-ga-ga across a Stooges-esque riff. Result? It’s like being stuck on fast forward for a year and a day.
Side two guffs the voice track with a mouthful of slow pebbles – it’s a Babel tower baby with ramps for Davros. Soon a static blanket is draped over a clarinet and guitar in a cheeky seaside manner; a nudge and a wink if you will. But the movement is forward, ever forward… plastic buttons may get pressed and un-pressed but it’s the lusty crying that keeps me riveted to the spot.
More wonderful wet-coffs for the Dental Tourist; a gem of a sensible tape resourcing!
Tags: feral tapes, joe murray, miguel perez, skull mask, spoils & relics
Skull Mask – Artificio y Fetiche (self-released download)
Skull Mask – Musa (self-released download)
Spoils & Relics – Private Garage Collection (tape, Feral Tapes, 010, edition of 40 or download)
Skull Mask – Artificio y Fetiche / Musa
If you asked me, and I’m taking your continued reading as a straight affirmative, I would say the guitar is a desert instrument. Think Jon Collin, Cian Nugent and Loren Mazzacane Connors – they’ve all explored the lonely sound of the desert scorch.
And you can certainly see why. Those spare six strings can mimic the warped shimmer and the emptiness of a desert landscape in slow simple plucks. The baking heat lends a laziness and fractured timing to the dusty fretboard.
Miguel Perez, another amazingly important guitarist to the N-AU, packs his atlas and strolls the deserts of this world (and the next) on the sun-damaged Artificio y Fetiche.
The taught and springy acoustic steel-string has a slight reverb warble as Miguel conjures up the skitter of a green lizard’s quick limbs, the poisonous spines of a cactus and the glassy psychedelics found in handfuls of sand.
This is a desert that’s teeming with life, studded with microscopic activity, scuttling and slithering between the bone-dry gullies.
The Flamenco influenced ‘Cortometrajes’ explodes with energy fingers rippling like a buttery dawn.
So clear and precise is Miguel’s vision and playing it takes the majestic ‘Piezas’ to remind me of what I’d forgotten- this is an improvised guitar album – as it shuffles between bliss-out sun worship and knotty string bending.
But it’s the closer, the soon-to-be-classic ‘Sangre,’ that makes you come back again and again for a rusty fix. The imagined opening credits to a lost Western it rolls like a Django with an extra thumb; it’s acid-blasted and 70’s-day-glo jaunty in equal measure.
At around 15 minutes Artificio y Fetiche is a trip too brief and yet the much longer Musa still leaves me with an empty craving.
The two lengthy tracks on Musa stretch things like perished rubber. The surface of these recordings is littered with stress-lines and furrows, clicks and bumps that show a real human bent over double, hands blurring with speed.
On the title track notes are spat-out rather than neatly placed. A disorder and chaos reigns. But to judge this expression random would be foolish. Ever so slowly, ever so gently a sense of order is constructed in small sections, each folding into each other. A Moorish pattern, all azure-blue and cream emerges in egg-shell tones. As you stand back you pick out familiar patterns and lines. A map? But to where? But before your brain can muster a reply you find your feet shuffling forward, unable to resist.
Somehow Miguel has broadcast ‘Nada es Perfecto’ from a distant Ballardian future. Course red sands have crept into the cities leaving only the minaret’s thin towers, poking through the desert-creep, looking for all the world like giant abandoned onions.
The wind blows his haunting raga through the arrow slits; a rosewood moan, a restless questing. A sound so dry that it goes on forever.
Spoils & Relics – Private Garage Collection
Knowing the Spoils & Relics I wasn’t expecting any pebbles or nuggets but, make no mistake, the garage is in full effect. It’s chock-a-block with tin trays of screws, half-empty paint cans and a broken TV…
o///oo////o////At first it’s a jumble of unusable parts, scraps and ephemera\\\\\\0\0\\0\0\ooooo\o\o\o\\////ooo//o/oBut that of course all melts away when you add the human, the flesh ~~~~~and blood machine that takes the tightly-sealed jar of turpentine, beer towels and an XXXXXXXX old projector and turns that into a compelling narrative_____))()()The ghost >><<<<of memory haunts these dark ruffles and smeared hisses)(((((ooo>>A hum becomes a glass of fizzing alka-seltzer))))))A shifting ‘shish’ is folded into a matrix of voices)><><>Machinery hums and whirrs – a busy crackle industry but incredibly delicate+++Aural flytipping?+++The dynamics are kept XXxxXXX low and introverted, almost shy, with only the occasional brassy honk>>><<<…
The side B is ever-so-slightly busier>>><<>><>> with sounds overlapping and ()()( (())meshing messily rather than lining up ‘straight like a soldier’o00o)Oo0)Oo This added dimension takes away none of the quiet menace; in fact it OOOO adds layers of subway/\underpass paranoia like a sudden face at the window)()(***()))(((((((((()))ooooiiiiiiiooooOOOOOO>><><><<Snatches of art-core jams involving mahogany and ivory pieces slapped down in unknowable rhythms()(()””””!><><0000)0IT LIVES IT’S OWN LIFE, BREATHS IT’S OWN BREATH 000<<>><><)()()) )(())0o0o0o))
…This private garage is truly abstract and at times could be a ‘lost’ futurist recording from 1913 with all it’s sepia clanking and rattling. At around 10 mins per side this is a perfect power-listen for the busy radical. Get busy people.
Tags: burselm crypt, dirty swords, filthy turd, hairdryer excommunication, invisible city records, joe murray, kevin sanders, luke poot, mudguts, sindre bjerga
Various Artists – Live at the Burselm Crypt – Volume 1 (download, Burselm Crypt Recordings)
kevin sanders – some other nothings (CD-r or download, hairdryer excommunication)
Mudguts – Sabrina Fourtyfives (tape, Invisible City Records, ICR19, edition of 60 or download)
Various Artists – Live at the Burselm Crypt – Volume 1
I was supposed to be there!
Sometime back in 2015 I heard the whispered word on the street: Luke Poot and Sindre Bjerga were planning a surprise trip to Burselm to wrestle with Turd/Jarvis and the other pottery freaks. I checked my piggy bank to see if I could join in the fun, but alas I was broke. I nursed the hurt all through the winter, polished it regularly like a dull coin until Rob sent me this mission: Live at the Burselm Crypt – Volume 1, the record of the show I missed. More checking revealed the mysterious Wyngarde has documented the whole thing, making this release a bit like Beyonce’s Lemonade (or something).
Those Dirty Swords take a thoughtful approach to noise walls and construct things at a distinct angle. A gruff old loop (blasted Casio, TARDIS, half a Dodgem) turns back on itself, swallowing its hind legs in an endless struggle of greedy lips over hairy limbs.
Tight lightning is carefully woven into mournful horns until things get so hot and humid it’s almost tropical. Both swordsmen string out a final phrase of busy electric interference and bad-funk.
Welcome foreign dignitaries
…announces an ambassadorial Filthy Turd as he plugs into his Filthy amp and pulls on a Filthy mask for some of his most curious noise. Turd seems to be channelling the evil Plankton in Spongebob Squarepants as ‘Lobster Glue’ is praised and waves of metallic ‘screee’ float like ambergris on the ocean.
Abruptly the noise/noize/noyse stops and a rambling FT tells a random tale of fire-starting, alien queens with kidnap plans and shopping with Keith. Everything Filthy does is true, right and natural and should never be questioned.
That National Treasure Luke Poot plays a measured set of croaks and quacks. This is no Skatgobs acoustic jibber-jabber but full-on table electronics with extra-hot jaxx. The amplified whirr of a yellowing fan blade provides a backbone, quickly interlaced with pale blue squeak and some deep, deep groaning. The thing doesn’t so much build as multiply exponentially growing extra mouth holes and excretion glands, fresh gas huffing out at will, tears rolling down gelatinous cheeks, inducing migraines the consistency of crumby Lancashire. Poot puts out the misery like a wheelie bin on a Wednesday night with a thick slice of that Black Lace club classic ‘Superman’. Hitch a Ride!
The rolling stone that is Sindre Bjerga brings his marmalade sunshine to Burselm. 50 shades of hissy-slurp cascade out of Sindre’s well-travelled Dictaphones, constantly re-forming and splitting. A tweak here and a tweak there keep the barrage of snotty gloop fresh and tasty like a badly tuned radio.
Tapes are man-handled and pinched, glass bombs thumped and, in act of artistic defiance, colourful plastic chairs are stacked and rattled to the floor. And Sindre, ever the gentleman, ends with a tribute to his hosts and the fine town of Burslem by hawking up a mouthy-solo as grotty as a busted trolley all splattered with tar and rotten cabbage.
Re-live what you can’t afford. Project back into the future. Burselm magic is here!
Kevin Sanders – Some Other Nothings
Before I’ve even stuck my headphones on this disc is making my brain fold-over and start smoking like a dodgy toaster.
Why’s that eh Granddad? Too highfalutin in concept? Too austere in approach?
No way man… in an ice-cold moment, as cool and fresh as a toothpaste enema, I think Kevin Sanders has stumbled on my new favourite genre: the ‘thoughtless avant-garde’ as he so calmly states on that Bandcamp.
For me the idea of ‘thoughtlessness’ is wildly appealing. By this, and I’m guessing Mr Sanders feels the same way, this isn’t about doing things without thought but rather doing them in an unconscious and instinctive way; trusting yourself to get there in the end and being happy to take the long way round both mentally and physically. Kevin’s 3 tracks, three forms of ‘nothing,’ seem to be unconsciously captured and then subconsciously worked on.
Untitled I (7.39) is a lightly treated field recording of quiet train travel, traffic ‘schussh’ and the commuter hum many of us live five days a week. Untitled II (25.53) takes the static essence of this field recording and irons it out so peaks and troughs are flattened shiny and smooth like the ass on my old suit. Amid the thin drone a quiet metallic tone incredibly slowly makes its way to the front of the mix; a two-note refrain straining at the edges of perception. It sounds like the work of a nudged pot, a tweaked filter but so slight as to be unconscious – thoughtless even?
Untitled (46.17) is a weightier track, not just in length but in the presence of the sound pouring out of my headphones. A fat wobbling dominates the first quarter of this piece accompanied by a dreich wave of sheer fizzing grey. This oils & water mixture constantly shifts and churns; at one point distant horns are stretched to almost nothingness and become woven into the mix like silver thread. A gentle tinkling (ice melting in a glass of astringent gin?) bridges us into a sustained ghostly hum and the ‘pervasive grind of continuity’ that Kevin speaks of so eloquently. I follow this ‘grind’ for over 20 minutes, super-subtle themes emerging and then dying while the whole thing, gently, calmly… fucking regally, fades out.
Those closing seconds are strained with poignancy, a Culveresque decline into bliss and grace.
Mudguts – Sabrina Fourtyfives
A collaboration between that immovable object Scott Mckeating and the unstoppable force Lee Stokoe was always going to be some dark, wicked fun. And for such a mysterious pair they have announced, bold as brass, their working method: Lee produces the base sounds while Scott augments and messes with the final result.
‘Chevy Vega in the Seven Minutes’ is some medieval plague-soaked nightmare. I can hear the monks panicked chanting faintly in the cloisters; villagers clasp the remaining relics to their sunken chests hoping for a spiritual guidance, a divine cleansing, a deliverance from this hell on earth. High on the hill the well-fed squire loads more torches with pitch and weighs his trusty cudgel in his hand. A cruel smile plays on his lips as he considers dispatching this evil from his lands.
‘Deep Fucking Purple’, along with winning song title of the year so far, rumbles like a concrete post being dragged behind a pick-up truck. The potholes and roadkill add rhythm and swing to the constant roiling crunch with occasional dry-static explosions – a dustdevil gone radge!
The longest piece here, ‘Pretty Slipping’, seems to be based on some live ritual (tell-tale voices chitter at the start) but these are soon OBLITERATED by doom-laden guitar chords and that distinctive run-off-groove-fuzz your needle makes when it skips the vinyl spiral.
But what carries this track head-and-shoulders over a standard dark-drone experiment is the reintroduction of the tantalising voices. I can hear sniffs, coughs and indistinct shouting (possibly on a loop) as Joujouka pipes wail. The whole mix is pretty damn psychedelic, the distance between sounds expands and contracts, voices bounce hard off dungeon walls or are squeezed like grapes between toes.
Tags: bells hill, midwich, scott mckeating
midwich – blisterpack (3″ CD-r, Bells Hill, BH 012, edition of 50 or download)
Yes, yes, I know there is an unwritten rule that nowadays radiofreemidwich does not cover the work of its contributors or editor (a great shame as we are a pride of geniuses but, y’know, ‘integrity’ and all that) HOWEVER a new midwich ‘side’ is a rare occurrence and no money is being requested so: fuck it let’s go…
Your tireless editor is proud to announce the release of blisterpack by midwich on Scott McKeating’s Bells Hill label. In a development that might raise eyebrows amongst long-term midwich watchers this, err…, ‘mini-album’ comprises 12 tracks totalling a mere 18 minutes. There is a little of the drone I am usually associated with but, in the main, this is a collection of fun, spiky sketches in the mode of the short interludes you’d often find on earlier midwich recordings. Scott requested short tracks and it is an aspect of midwich I really enjoyed returning to. I’ve joked that this is my punk album but it is more like a ‘loops and breaks’ type thing, I guess. If any of you out there do remixes, create radio jingles or whatnot then feel free to use it for that purpose. Hope you dig it.
There is a Bandcamp link below but Scott also created 50 copies of this on 3″ CD-r and got Lee ‘Culver’ Stokoe to design some cover art (which is free of his usual prurience – see above). As we are both true, hardcore, no-audience underground 4EVA these physical objects are not for sale, instead they are offered up as gifts or in trade. If you’d like one get in touch with me or Scott (try @scottmckeating).